Inside: How to use Smart Home Devices to have a more productive day; plus the best smart home tech to integrate into your life and home decor.
I’m far from a tech blogger, and to be honest when the smart home trend hit, I was a bit skeptical of the whole thing. However, after a couple of years I’m on board in a big way. I have found that bringing smart home enabled devices into our house has reduced my inefficiencies and ramped up my productivity in unexpected ways.
Being that I’m not a tech blogger, I’m going to explain how I use smart home products around our house and how they blend in seamlessly with our lives.
BTW – if you missed my post about my top 25 Productivity Hacks for Moms, check it out first! It will make all this Smart Home stuff seem less daunting!
Best Smart Home Devices
First things first, you’ll need a smart hub. No matter what you’re doing that is creating automation, your smart devices need to talk to a home base. In our case, we use a hub and then have a few other devices paired up to our phones because we have both iPhone and Android in our house.
Here’s a list of some of the best smart home devices (as reviewed by CNet)
*affiliate links used
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Cloud Cam
- Phillips HUE LED Starter Kit
- Nest Hello
- Schlage Encoded Wifi Deadbolt (I have a specific review of this Schlage Lock here)
What can Smart Homes Do?
Basically, any device that is plugged into your home in some way can be turned into a ‘smart device’ that is controlled either by a central hub (as talked about above) or your mobile device via an app.
It’s very George Jetson like. Most Smart Home devices are things that control in-home climate, lighting, sound and theatre, home security, and entertainment. A cool little factoid is that the realm of smart devices (as in anything that is physical and connected to a wifi network that work together) is referred to as The Internet of Things. Crazy eh?
Beyond some of the more obvious products, there are some really niche smart home products on the market as well, such as smart trash cans that automatically open and close, smart refrigerators that will produce a recipe based on the contents of the fridge and even smart washer and dryer sets that will send you a text when it’s time to flip the load.
Here’s an example of a very expensive Smart Fridge from Samsung.
Easy Ways to Turn your Home into a Smart Home
Getting started might feel daunting, especially if you aren’t super techie. But the companies creating this technology make it so easy these days! Most devices are basically ‘plug and play’ and then react either to commands via a mobile app or voice commands. It’s just a matter of learning the commands and you’re off to the smart races 🙂
Here are some of my fave smart home gadgets (some of which might be unexpected!)
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS, 42mm) - Silver Aluminium Case with White Sport Band
The Apple watch is the ultimate Smart Device only because it's perfect for storing all the apps you'll use to command your other devices. I like that it's not a phone, so it is a bit of a separate routine from checking emails and social media.
Canon TS8120 Wireless All-In-One Printer with Scanner and Copier: Mobile and Tablet Printing, with Airprint(TM) and Google Cloud Print compatible, White
I have this wireless printer and it's everything. It talks to my other smart devices and will save, send and scan documents as I ask it to. Plus, I love that it comes in white and doesn't look like a big black box in my office.
AeroGarden Bounty Wi-Fi with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit
For those without a green thumb, this Smart enabled herb garden will help you! Yes, it's pricey. But it's cool, eh?
Brightech Maxwell - Bedroom Nightstand Lamp with USB Ports – Modern Asian Table Lamp w/Wood Frame - Soft Light Perfect for Bedside - with LED bulb - Black
On the low-tech side, there are now bedside lamps that come with USB ports built in. Genius if you're like I am and have to fish under the bed to grab a charging cord every night.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Compatible with Amazon Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant)
One again with the Philips, but these lightbulbs really are the future, especially if you want to prioritize efficiencies in the home.
Tile Combo Pack - Key Finder. Phone Finder. Anything Finder (1 Tile Sport and 1 Tile Style) - 2 Pack
Lost your keys? This Tile Key finder will help! I'm constantly misplacing mine because I switch jackets and purses a lot. These turn your keys smart!
Wemo Insight Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring, WiFi Enabled, Control Your Devices and Manage Energy Costs From Anywhere, Works with Alexa and the Google Assistant
Boost the wifi in your house and don't take up a plug in the wall. Enough said. These little devices are great. I have one in my office as well.
Arlo Baby Monitor | Smart WIFI Baby Camera 1080P HD with 2-Way Audio, Night Vision, Air Sensors, Lullaby Player, Night Light, Works with Amazon Alexa, HomeKit (ABC1000)
This is just cute. It's a baby monitor that looks like a rabbit and it's wifi and bluetooth and all the things.
Sonos Play:1 – Compact Wireless Home Smart Speaker for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. (White)
We have speakers hidden all over our house. And the sound from them is consistently getting better with each new model introduced to the market.
Winblo 15 15.6 Inch Lightweight Travel Laptop Backpack Bag Shoulder College Backpacks (Purple)
Not a device, but a cute way to carry your devices with you. It took me forever to find a travel worthy back pack that was nice looking and held my laptop and other devices safely in place while walking through busy airports.